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Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Bourbon County Brand Barleywine AleBourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale

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3,359 Ratings
no score

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Ratings: 3,359
Reviews: 357
rAvg: 4.53
pDev: 8.39%
Wants: 383
Gots: 1,152 | FT: 206
Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co. visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  12.10% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
Aged in the third-use barrels that were once home to Kentucky bourbon and then our renowned Bourbon County Stout, this traditional English-style barleywine possesses the subtlety of flavor that only comes from a barrel that’s gone through many seasons of ritual care. The intricacies of the previous barrel denizens – oak, charcoal, hints of tobacco and vanilla, and that signature bourbon heat – are all present in this beer. Hearty and complex, Bourbon County Brand Barleywine is a titan and a timeline; a bold, flavorful journey through the craft of barrel aging.

(Beer added by: jplopez21 on 10-04-2013)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,359 | Reviews: 357 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beerdrifter
4.48/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up in a great trade with Mike and Evan! Dark mahogany pour with a beige one finger head that quickly fades but with really nice lacing. The nose is heavenly for a Barleywine lover like myself Lots of dark fruits, bourbon, and oak along with hints of figs, toffee, raisins, and sweet brown bread. The taste is just as amazing and mirrors the nose. Oak, dark fruits, vanilla, molasses, black cherries, maple, toffee, with some subtle chocolate and licorice notes. The mouthfeel is thick and syrupy and velvety smooth with a nice subtle warming finish. It's amazingly not hot or boozy for a 12% ABV beer, but I'm still going to cellar a couple of these and see what happens. Overall, this may not be quite in the same league as King Henry, but it's pretty damn close and way more available. Another classic offering from Goose Island!

beerdrifter, Dec 24, 2013
Photo of dazedandconfused
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

dazedandconfused, Dec 24, 2013
Photo of IPAchris
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

IPAchris, Dec 24, 2013
Photo of PostVinyl
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

PostVinyl, Dec 24, 2013
Photo of Sarge3130
4.88/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from 12oz bottle dated 9/17/13

Immediate fizz sound when I opended the bottle then an overwhelming toffee aroma.

A: pretty standard barleywine. Poured aggressive with little head. Dark reddish brown color.

S: toffee. Bourbon. Dark fruits. Whiskey raisins.

T: heavy bourbon followed by dark fruits. Carmel sweetness.

M: very clean. More carbonated then I was expecting for the style and being barrel aged.

O: solid barrel aged barleywine. Unfortunately, I didn't get a ton of barrel characteristics from this brew. No oak or vanilla was present. Not sure if using barrels three times is a good idea. I enjoy higher alcohol beers but this needs some time IMO. Drinking very hot right now. Would drink again but wouldn't seek out in a trade.

Bottle rating: 4.25


On draft at local bottle shop. Poured into 8oz snifter.

A: I asked for the BCBBW and I thought they brought me BCBS accidently. Black coffee like appearance, thin pale head. Very similar to BCBS but head is not as dark.

S: Vanilla, coconut, bourbon, and sweetness. All the barrel character i was missing from the bottle.

T: Thick bourbon and chocolate followed by a nice sweetness.

M: Full. coats the mouth well.

O: outstanding on draft. Compared to the bottle, this is night and day. an A+ barleywine. If any bars advertise having this on draft, absolutely check it out.

Sarge3130, Dec 24, 2013
Photo of DerekQXQX
3.5/5  rDev -22.7%

DerekQXQX, Dec 24, 2013
Photo of AKuehn47
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

AKuehn47, Dec 24, 2013
Photo of Stinger80OH
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Stinger80OH, Dec 24, 2013
Photo of sneth019
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

sneth019, Dec 24, 2013
Photo of scotv
4/5  rDev -11.7%

scotv, Dec 24, 2013
Photo of Localdrinklax
5/5  rDev +10.4%

Localdrinklax, Dec 24, 2013
Photo of Dope
4.48/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

September 17th, 2013. 1543 (batch #?)

A: Pours a menacing dark brown. Tall, fizzy and very dark brown head. Head fizzes out pretty fast. Decent retention at least. No lacing.

S: Huge and sweet caramel and toffee notes. Dark, heavy bread and some light chocolate. Toasted sugars in there. Decadent and sweet for sure.

T: Again, overloaded with sweet toasted sugar and caramel. Less so toffee. Quite a bit of dark fruits show up here, lots of raisin, dates and prunes. Even plums maybe? Some oak in the finish with a little vanilla. More heavy caramel in the finish and aftertaste. Lots of chocolate comes out to play once fully up to room temperature.

M: Low carbonation, heavy and sweet. Borderline cloying but the bourbon cuts it just enough.

O: Well, if you're looking for a top-of-the-line barrel-aged english barleywine, this pretty much stands at the top along with Sucaba. Thick, heavy, viscous, and super sweet. Bourbon cuts it just enough to help the drinkability, but doesn't overpower the great maltiness. Drink this one warm.

Dope, Dec 24, 2013
Photo of mjpolzin
4.28/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I was very excited to try this beer since Bourbon County Stout and Bourbon County Coffee are my top two favorite beers. This one unfortunately fell short of my expectations.

This was thicker and darker in the glass than any barleywine I have ever seen. It was had a very heavy bourbon nose to it, very similar to the stouts in this series. So it was definitely off to a promising start.

The taste was very sweet and was a mix of dark fruits and candy. Surprisingly the bourbon taste was very muted and almost non-existent. This was where I started to be disappointed in this beer as I expected a more bourbon-forward flavor. I will say that the sweetness follows suite with what I expect from an English Barleywine since so many barleywines seem to blur the lines between what the American and English versions are supposed to be.

After the aforementioned BCBS and BCBCS, Bourbon Barrel Barleywine by Central Waters is my next highest rated beer. This beer fell short when compared to what I think is the gold standard in barrel aged barleywines.

This beer was really good if not great. I will certainly buy it again if Goose Island makes it again. It just fell short of the high expectations they have set from their other Bourbon County offerings.

mjpolzin, Dec 24, 2013
Photo of jeff1973
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

jeff1973, Dec 24, 2013
Photo of EB1
3.75/5  rDev -17.2%

EB1, Dec 24, 2013
Photo of kevdemers
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

kevdemers, Dec 24, 2013
Photo of bigaddy
5/5  rDev +10.4%

bigaddy, Dec 24, 2013
Photo of Brown120
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Brown120, Dec 24, 2013
Photo of london1o1
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

london1o1, Dec 24, 2013
Photo of rodlavers
4.54/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a snifter. Dark cola brown in color, subtle hints of red, fizzing tan head recedes almost as quickly as it's poured, a bit translucent. Nice beer legs, stains the glass.

Molasses, vanilla, sweet spice, bourbon, red licorice, dark fruits, burnt brown sugar and caramel.

Flavors are similar as well; it's sweet, but not overwhelmingly so. Definitely hot on the booze, more prominent here than in the smell.

Mouthfeel is smooth and slightly carbonated.

Overall this is a unique and special rendition of a barleywine, and one that I believe would benefit from some aging. Luckily I have a second bottle to sit on for awhile.

rodlavers, Dec 23, 2013
Photo of BobZ
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

BobZ, Dec 23, 2013
Photo of MontereyBay831
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

MontereyBay831, Dec 23, 2013
Photo of Rado
3.75/5  rDev -17.2%

Rado, Dec 23, 2013
Photo of DerrickW
5/5  rDev +10.4%

DerrickW, Dec 23, 2013
Photo of Benesi88
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Benesi88, Dec 23, 2013
Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 3,359 ratings.